Though Apple Maps has improved considerably over the past few years, it’s rather surprising, if not downright disappointing, that Apple still hasn’t incorporated built-in transit directions into the app. The omission is even more glaring considering that Google Maps has had such a feature for years.
That said, a recently posted job listing on Apple’s website may hint at the fact that iOS 9 may finally be when Apple gets around to integrating oh so helpful bus and train directions into its homegrown maps app.
Originally spotted by AppleInsider, the job posting seeks a qualified individual to join Apple’s routing team.
“As a member of the Routing team, you will work on one of the most anticipated features of Apple Maps,” the listing states. In requirements, the company directly asks for someone with “in-depth knowledge about public transit,” both as a rider and on a technical level.
Indeed, it’s somewhat of a mystery that Apple keeps on taking its dear sweet time on adding transit directions. After all, the company has made a number of high-profile transit acquisitions over the past 20+ months.
In July of 2013, for instance, Apple acquired HopStop, a popular public transit app available in hundreds of cities worldwide.
The HopStop app description reads:
Get detailed subway, bus, train, taxi, walking and biking directions, real-time transit information via HopStop Live!, as well as official transit maps, nearby station search, and station-to-station schedules in over 600 cities throughout the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Russia, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Netherland, Israel, Australia and New Zealand.
The app also provides users with real-time updates as to transit delays, crowds, and other issues of note. In a way, it’s very similar to how Waze crowd sources its traffic information. If Apple actually integrates all of the aforementioned features into its Maps app, well, that’d be a tremendous improvement.
So why the delay?
Well, AppleInsider notes that Apple’s mapping efforts have been hindered by “bad planning, office politics, and developers leaving Apple entirely.”
With Apple’s new job listing surfacing this week, not to mention the overt acknowledgement that transit directions is a highly anticipated feature, its entirely possible that iOS 9, slated to be unveiled at WWDC this June, will finally be when Apple Maps can stand toe to toe with Google Maps and not lose before the battle even begins.